What are Processed Foods?
Processed foods refer to foods that have been altered from their natural state and are preserved and packed in boxes, cans or bags for safety reasons as in pasteurized milk or for convenience as in canned foods. Canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing are some methods used in making processed foods. Breakfast cereals, canned fruits and fruit juices, chips and processed meat are examples of processed foods.
Processed foods most often contain artificial additives like sweeteners, coloring agents and trans fats. The ingredients present in processed foods don’t contribute to good health when compared with the ingredients we have in the kitchen at home. Processed foods found abundantly in grocery stores and supermarkets may greatly affect the health of an individual. Avoid processed foods and stick to natural healthy foods. Here are some facts regarding processed foods.
Processed Foods Facts
• Foods are usually processed to kill harmful bacteria or other microorganisms, and make them safer with longer shelf life and for more convenience.
• Food processing removes some of the nutrients, vitamins and fiber present in the food.
• Processing can also affect the taste of the food as manufacturers may add cheap or artificial sugar, salts, fats or additives to improve or restore the flavor or properties to the food.
• Daily munching of processed foods promote aging and kidney damage as it can have phosphates and genetically engineered ingredients added to it.
• Processed foods are highly addictive and make you crave them constantly. Excess consumption of these foods can lead to obesity and other health problems.
• Do you know that fresh foods are actually cheaper than processed foods? Some people with junk foods addictions often claim that fresh foods are too expensive when compared with processed foods.
• Processed foods are obtained from laboratories and are not natural. The foods are genetically modified and may cause gastrointestinal disorders, infertility and can damage your internal organs.
• Frequent intake of processed foods can make people become angry and irritable, whereas consumption of natural, whole foods can help level out your mood, sustain energy levels and leave you feeling calmer and relaxed.
• Are you having cereals for breakfast? You better watch out as research has found that pesticides and chemicals have found their way into cereal packs too.
• Some processed foods like peanut butter, blueberry jam, home made cranberry juice, apple juice, grape juice, are healthy choices that can be harmless.
• The trans fats and sugar present in processed items can cause inflammation that leads to asthma.
• Sulphite is the main artificial preservative agent that is found in a range of processed foods including meat, dairy products, dried fruits, dried vegetables, French fries and chutneys. Sulphites are associated with symptoms like headache, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes, behavioral problems and asthma.